Head of Amenemhat III

Realistic style portrait head of king Amenemhat III, wearing the white Hedjet crown of Upper Egypt, made out of greywacke. This head from a statue shows highly individualistic facial features, which goes against the usual idealizing tendencies.

Amenemhat Ill’s features are clearly marked and give life to a highly individualistic portrait quite unlike the idealized models of the ruler. The cheekbones protrude, the eyelids are heavy, the curves of the mouth evident, and the deep lines that indicate his advanced age express a sense of deep tension.

Head of King Amenemhat III
Head of King Amenemhat III

It is graywacke and, although it appears black, it is in fact a dark green stone with a very fine and homogenous grain, the quarries of which are located in the Wadi Hammamat, in the eastern desert, about 80 km from the ancient city of Coptos.

In order to extract this rock and bring it to the Nile Valley, it was therefore necessary to organise imposing expeditions, but this did not prevent the Egyptians from using graywacke almost without interruption from the Predynastic to the Roman Period for statues (also of great dimensions), cosmetic objects, architectural elements, but also large sarcophagi.

The high cheekbones, wrinkled face, and bitter, pouted mouth identify the statue as belonging to the 12th Dynasty ruler, King Amenemhat III.

The area of Faiyum, largely drained by Amenemhat III, was chosen by the king as his burial place where he built a pyramid and a large funerary complex celebrated in classical sources as the “Labyrinth.”

The are a variety of contemporary sources attesting to the reign of Amenemhat III. Chief among these are the collection of inscriptions left at mining sites throughout Egypt, Nubia, and the Sinai peninsula.

Head of King Amenemhat III
Head of King Amenemhat III

Amenemhat III was an ancient Egyptian king who ruled during the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom period. He is known for several achievements during his reign.

One of Amenemhat III’s notable achievements was his focus on infrastructure and irrigation projects. He initiated the construction of the Bahr Yusuf canal, which connected the Nile River to the Fayum region. This canal helped to regulate the water supply and improve agricultural productivity in the area.

Amenemhat III also undertook extensive building projects, including the construction and renovation of temples and monuments throughout Egypt. He built or expanded temples dedicated to various deities, such as the Temple of Sobek in the Faiyum and the Temple of Amun at Karnak.

Additionally, Amenemhat III is known for his successful military campaigns. He conducted expeditions into Nubia, where he established Egyptian control and secured valuable resources such as gold and ivory. These campaigns helped to expand Egypt’s influence and maintain its dominance in the region.

Furthermore, Amenemhat III implemented economic reforms and policies that aimed to stabilize the kingdom’s economy. He focused on trade and mining activities, which contributed to Egypt’s prosperity during his reign.

Overall, Amenemhat III’s achievements include infrastructure development, temple construction, military successes, and economic reforms. These accomplishments left a lasting impact on ancient Egyptian history and contributed to the stability and prosperity of the Middle Kingdom.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, reign of Amenemhat III, ca. 1860-1814 BC. Now in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. ÆIN 924